A few days ago I woke up with a story in my head. Well, the idea for one at least.
That may not seem like a very surprising thing–especially for a writer–but for me, it felt like a major victory.
As may have been evident from my inability to even generate anything that I’d be willing to post on our Friday Writing Sprints, I have been in a bit of a creativity dead zone. Well, maybe more of a creativity black-hole or maybe a giant creativity void. Whatever it was, it seriously impacted my storytelling abilities.
I blame the pandemic.
But then Sunday morning, somewhere between asleep and awake, the remainder of a dream fluttered around in my head. I discarded the actual person who had featured in the dream and thought up a new character to fill the role. Then I thought of a hook that could turn the dream snippet into a real story.
A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was trying to decide wether to keep plugging away on the current manuscripts I have in process or to call it a day and get on with my (writing) life.
The part of me that felt I was trapped in revision paralysis was all for “let’s build a bonfire / I’ll get the matches.” The part of me that never stopped reading a book partway through (until Madame Bovary), was more “quitter, quitter, quitter.”
A conundrum, indeed.
Fortunately, I think I’ve come up with a solution that pleases no one combines the two options. I’m taking one of my three manuscripts and starting it all over from scratch.
It’s been good news/bad news here. The good news is that after a frustrating few days when I couldn’t get a grip on my new story, on Tuesday things fell into place. A propos of nothing I had a flash of insight that gave me a premise for the book and the GMC (goal, motivation, conflict) for all the main characters. As a bonus, I even figured out who owns the story.
The bad news is, it seems farming and gardening are important to the new WIP, and I have a brown thumb. My mother and grandmother were excellent gardeners, but I don’t even have houseplants, because they take one look at me and give up the ghost.
It would have been great if the Girls had sent up a plot I knew something about, but I’m not complaining–I’m grateful to get a workable idea. The garden stuff is important, but it’s a vehicle for the characters and conflict, and as long as I get those right, everything else is fixable. My current plan is Continue reading →
I’m totally breaking my rule of not working on a new book while I haven’t finished the first one (especially when the first one has a few folks requesting it!), but after reading Elizabeth’s post last week, I couldn’t help it. See, the Girls in My Basement have been complaining about their diet of white rice (a.k.a., Three Proposals) for awhile now, and I’m getting a mite bit tired of their noise, so I figured it was time to serve them coq au vin so they’d shut up and cooperate.
It’s working. They like coq au vin.
Actually, this all came about when I started taking a class called Story Structure Safari (SSF) taught by Lisa Miller. I’m LOVING it. What I didn’t want to do is apply this new technique of plotting to 3P, because EWW, I would find so many things wrong with it and I really just need to get the story done.
So instead, I pulled out what I thought would be a relatively easy story to write (“easy” as in “not a lot of heavy research”). It’s Tradwick’s story…Nate’s friend and fellow spy…and I’m having such a great time discovering this character and what makes him tick! What’s even better is Continue reading →
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve been hanging out with new stories.
I know what you’re thinking: “The Traitor is not finished. You’re supposed to be working on the revisions so you can send it out into the world. There are agents waiting!”
You’re right. You’re right. But there are other, new, enticing stories just clamoring for my attention. When I’m in the shower, while I’m driving to work, as I’m cleaning up dead ants – there they are. When I’m in bed, attempting to get to sleep, my brain says “Hey, watch this scene for story xxx. Isn’t it great?” or “Hey, what do you think of this fun bit of dialog?” Story ideas I had years ago are randomly popping up in Technicolor with surround sound. A little disconcerting, but I’m not complaining.
Working on The Traitor pales by comparison to all of these bright, shiny new ideas, but I know this way madness and an unending string of partially told stories lies.
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